Arturs Virtmanis (LV/USA) #
To Perish in Fantasy, 2016, Space, fallen trees, paper, textile, organic glass, ropes, charcoal, tar, bubble machine, entropicsalon.com
Arturs Virtmanis (1971) is a New York-based visual artist born in Riga, Latvia. He studied art and design at the Riga Applied Arts College and later at the Art Academy of Latvia. Virtmanis’ early experiments with different media explored filmmaking, concept architecture, happenings, sculpture, painting and graphic arts. After relocating to New York, he worked on projects that fused elements of installation art, set design and architecture, while building a consistent studio practice based on drawing and so-called paper architecture. Exploring such themes as entropy, melancholy and messianism, Virtmanis creates visually and metaphorically dense provisional drawing environments that combine relics of sentimental imagery of past eras, cryptic texts in a form of obsessive calligraphy, collections of found and drawn objects à la a cabinet of curiosities, architectural scale models and residue that has accumulated in the process of creating artwork. Charcoal is his material of choice, used obsessively, often to the point of deep and vaporous blackness.
About the work
“To believe in the reality of salvation one must first believe in the reality of the Fall…”
– Emil Cioran’s essay “Rages and Resignations” from book The Temptation to Exist (1956)
For years I have been haunted by the image of a shipwreck!
The name of this particular ship is the VMA Transporter 2 (vesicular monoamine transporter). It is named after the so-called God gene, which, according to some scientists, predisposes humans towards spiritual or mystical experiences.
It seems that for some unexplainable reason a belief always exists somewhere on the periphery of God. This brings into existence a condition (a curse?!) that God always needs to be searched for, which in turn suggests the possibility of failure.
I have been trying to create an artwork that would function as an observation deck – something that would serve as a platform for the voyeurism of the highest sort – to facilitate one’s ability to gaze (and indulge) into nothingness…
And if it happens that, while gazing into the void, one encounters ghosts of mythological nature (so the better and richer “the adventure”) – the Flying Dutchman, the Ship of Fools, Charon and his boat bound for the underworld, Shackleton, Robert Scott and innumerable failed polar expeditions, pirates, Titanics of various eras, Bermuda Triangles...apparitions of many kinds that float like flotsam and jetsam somewhere on the outskirts of a thin and brittle film called consciousness.